FOCUS 2006 inside today

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 1, 2006

Today’s publication of our 15th Anniversary Edition of FOCUSrepresents the culmination of over four months of hard work byevery member of The DAILY LEADER staff.

With the regular newspaper’s 16 pages and the special section’s102 pages, today’s edition is largest of the year. We have traveledan interesting and challenging road to reach this point today.

FOCUS planning began back in December, as Lincoln County lifewas returning to normal following Hurricane Katrina in August. Thestorm impacted everyone’s everyday lives and also influenced thenewspaper as we endeavored to prepare FOCUS for publication.

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Several stories in this year’s edition are related to thehurricane.

Among them is the story on 2006 Citizen of the Year CliffordGaley, the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Civil Defense director whoplayed a key role in responding to Katrina and coordinating reliefactivities following the storm. Other Katrina-related storiesinclude ones on area churches that served as shelters for evacueesand stories on residents who have moved to or returned to LincolnCounty as a result of the hurricane.

The DAILY LEADER began publishing FOCUS in 1991 and the specialedition has changed over the years. This year is no different.

A new FOCUS component this year is the Lifetrends section. Thesection offers an interesting look at how people are spending theirwork and play hours and how times have changed due to modernizationand technological advances.

Returning sections in this year’s FOCUS include Health,Leadership, Faith, People, Community, Commerce and Agriculture. Allsections have stories that highlight the people, places andactivities that make Southwest Mississippi the great place that itis.

As Publisher Bill Jacobs discusses in his column on today’sopinion page, FOCUS 2006 posed a number of challenges for thenewspaper’s staff.

Three “rookie” department leaders, either going through theirfirst FOCUS altogether or looking at it from a new perspective,learned on the fly as they guided their staffs and pulled thesections together. During that time were also personnel issues,health-related and otherwise, that presented other challenges.

Through it all, though, all departments – newsroom, advertising,graphics, production, circulation and administration – rallied tothe call and managed to produce a high quality special section thatwas completed ahead of schedule.

For 15 years, we have enjoyed bringing FOCUS to you and we hopeyou have enjoyed the fruits of our efforts. As we mark our 15thanniversary, we celebrate this year’s edition and look forward tomany more years of putting this great community in FOCUS.